Weekly COVID-19 update: news, resources and information

iowa department of human rights

June 19, 2020

We are here to help.

COVID-19 has affected various aspects of life for Iowa residents, communities, and businesses. Information surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly changing and can be overwhelming. To help Iowans navigate information, the Iowa Department of Human Rights has compiled some resources about health and safety, language access, food, employment, grants, and more that we will be sending out in a weekly email. We hope these resources will help Iowans stay safe, healthy, informed, and resilient during these challenging times.

During the pandemic, it is especially important for us to serve as a catalyst of information to provide support and resources to Iowans, particularly vulnerable Iowans who are  experiencing additional challenges, to help them understand the state's response to  COVID-19. 

Venturing Out? 

As summer approaches and restrictions are being lifted, people are looking to venture out.  Whether you are dining at a restaurant, going to the gym or nail salon, or hosting a cookout, it's important to stay safe when resuming daily activities.  Although there is no way to ensure zero risk of infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it’s important to understand the potential risks and how to adopt different types of prevention measures to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

  • In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
  • If you decide to engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventive actions.
  • Keep these items on hand when venturing out: a cloth face covering, tissues, and a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, if possible.

View the CDC guidance (available in multiple languages).

Tribal Communities

The CDC provides information to help guide tribes about health and safety, funeral and burial services, and tips for multi-generational households.  View CDC guidance.

Did you know that the Iowa Department of Human Rights has an Office and Commission of Native American Affairs?


Source: Center for American Indian Health

ADA 30th Anniversary

July 2020 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The The landmark legislation promotes equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. The ADA has made positive changes in the areas to employment, healthcare, government services and programs, housing, and more. 

Iowa Public Broadcasting Service will provide special programming in July that spotlights people with differing abilities and disabilities. Thank you to the Iowa Department of Human Rights' Office of Persons with Disabilities for providing consultation services for the program. 

Did you know?

  • 365,620 Iowans in 2018 report have a disability.  
  • 50,187 Iowa veterans in 2018 have a disability, representing 28% of Iowa veterans.
  • 81,251 Iowans age 18-64 in the labor force with a disability were employed in 2018.  54.1% of Iowans with a disability worked at least part-time. 
  • $21,461 Median earnings for Iowans age 16 and over with disabilities with earnings in 2018 (compared to $35,596 without disabilities).

Source:  Iowans with Disabilities 2019

More on disability:  U.S. Census Bureau-Demographic Snapshot

U.S. Department of Labor releases "Quick Tip" video on how ADA rules apply during pandemic

The U.S. Department of Labor has posted a "Quick Tip" video to help employers understand how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules apply during the COVID-19 pandemic. The video also refers employers to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to learn about medical exams and inquiries in light of the national health crisis. Watch the "Quick Tip" video here.

Community Action Mobile Food Pantry

Thank you to Iowa Community Action Agencies and volunteers for helping Iowans!  The Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) holds drive-through food pantries in eastern Iowa. Families can pick up food like fresh fruit and dairy products.  To view their schedule and locations, click here.  To find a community action agency near you, visit the Iowa Department of Human Rights' website at https://humanrights.iowa.gov/dcaa/iowas-community-action-agencies. Many agencies offer other assistance such as food banks, food delivery initiatives, clothing, diapers, and addressing other emergency needs.

Webcast: COVID-19 & CARES Act Mortgage Relief Provisions

When: Thursday, June 25, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. CT
Hosted by: National Center on Law and Elder Rights

COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on older adults both physically and financially. For the millions of older adults who struggle to meet their monthly expenses, COVID-19 associated illness, loss of income, or increased expenses is causing severe financial strain. This webcast will provide an overview of what financial relief is available for those harmed financially by COVID-19, with a particular focus on mortgage relief options.

This webcast will also highlight strategies for legal helplines and phone-based service models to identify and provide legal information and referrals on mortgage relief issues.

Closed captioning will be available on this webcast. A link with access to the captions will be shared through GoToWebinar’s chat box shortly before the webcast start time.

Win for All: Mask Donations for Iowans

Broadlawns Medical Center and United Way of Central Iowa are calling on community members to donate cloth face masks to help provide free access to this important protection by making or purchasing fabric face masks to donate to Win for All. Donated masks will be dispersed to community organizations that serve marginalized communities in central Iowa.The registration form can be found here. Upon registration, United Way will email you more information and requirements for your donation delivery.  

For more information, visit: https://www.unitedwaydm.org/win-4-all-2020.

Help for Child Care Providers

The Iowa Department of Human Services recently announced that it has disbursed nearly $5.86 million in relief stipends and grants to licensed child care centers across the state as part of its COVID-19 Childcare Sustainability Plan. The funding is part of nearly $31.9 million that Iowa DHS received from the federal CARES Act to help licensed centers and registered homes to remain open or, if temporarily closed, reopen through a variety of funding strategies. More than 1,800 child care programs received basic monthly stipends of $2,000 for licensed centers or $500 for licensed homes in April and May, and more than 1,000 programs received funds to assist in adding employees. Providers that wish to receive the monthly stipend must complete a monthly stipend survey. For more information about the programs, click here.

The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance Program Reopens to All Eligible Small Businesses and Non-Profits

To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19.

With the reopening of the EIDL assistance and EIDL Advance application portal to all new applicants, additional small businesses and non-profits will be able to receive these long-term, low interest loans and emergency grants. 

EIDL assistance can be used to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt or fund other expenses. Additionally, the EIDL Advance will provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) of emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties, and these emergency grants do not have to be repaid.

For more information, visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.

Paycheck Protection Program accepting applications until June 30, 2020

The SBA is also assisting small businesses and non-profits with access to the federal forgivable loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program, which is currently accepting applications until June 30, 2020. More than $129 billion remains to be loaned in the PPP fund. The new rule updates provisions relating to loan maturity, deferral of loan payments, and forgiveness provisions and expands eligibility for businesses with owners who have past felony convictions.

To learn more, visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program.

Iowa Department of Human Rights' Youth Programs

Youth Programs and Initiatives


Informational meeting date: June 24, 2020 at 7 p.m. CT

Meeting ID: https://meet.google.com/kdv-tjzw-ybq  

Phone number: 1-617-675-4444‬

PIN: 492 649 552 4449‬#

Juneteenth Observance

This year, Juneteenth is arriving at an important time in history, during a call for change. According to the Iowa Department of Human Rights, Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas, with news that slaves were free and the war had ended.  The African American Museum of Iowa, the Iowa Juneteenth Observance organization, and others across the state are hosting events to observe Juneteenth. 

Did you know that Iowa is the seventh state to officially recognize Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth National Freedom Day, thanks to the Office on the Status of African Americans.

View Governor Kim Reynolds' proclamation declaring June 19, 2020, as Juneteenth Day.  

World Refugee Day

June 20 is World Refugee Day which offers opportunities to celebrate the strength and courage of refugees and their plight, and to acknowledge their contributions. The Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa (RACI) is offering the community opportunities to come together to celebrate Iowa's diversity. Visit RACI's website for information and events. 

COVID-19 Language Resources

American Sign Language Videos-CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Crescent Community Health Center-Marshallese Language

EMBARC Ethnic Minorities of Burma and Advocacy and Resource Center

Iowa Department of Human Rights-Language Access

Iowa Spanish Helpine 515-344-3936 

Multi-Lingual Hotline  1-877-558-2609
(Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa and partners)

Previous Newsletters

June 12, 2020

June 6, 2020

May 29, 2020

May 22, 2020

May 15, 2020

May 8, 2020

May 1, 2020

April 24, 2020

April 17, 2020

April 10, 2020

Are there other resources we should know about? Let us know.

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Iowa Department of Human Rights
Lucas State Office Building
321 E 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-242-5640 or 1-800-351-4659
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